Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
The one thing director Hriday Shetty’s film “Chaalis Chauraasi” can boast of is a stellar cast. With actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni and Kay Kay Menon as his leads, and a story idea with lots of great possibilities, it’s safe to say this film sounds great on paper.
Of course, most films must sound good on paper or else no one would make them, but that’s another story (or a blog). “Chaalis Chauraasi” is fashioned as a caper film, in which four small-time crooks plan on getting their hands on a huge sum of money that is lying in a deserted house in the middle of nowhere.
They decide to disguise themselves as policemen, get hold of a police car and make their way to their destination, but as you’d guess, nothing is quite so simple and the plan doesn’t quite work as they expected.
Naseeruddin Shah plays Mohit Suri, the leader of the gang, and somewhat of a mentor to the other three. Kay Kay Menon plays Pinto (a car thief), Atul Kulkarni plays Bobby (a small-time pimp whose dream is to one day own a “world-class escort service”) and Ravi Kishan is Shakti (a drug trader).
Even if you didn’t know it before, the first few frames of debutant director Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Ishqiya’, will confirm that he has imbibed a lot of his skill from his mentor Vishal Bhardwaj. The look, tone and feel of the film are all very reminiscent of Bhardwaj’s films.
That said, Chaubey does bring his own sensibility to the film, depicting the arid, gritty landscape of Western UP and its people with a freshness that we haven’t seen very often on screen.
A film that lasts under two hours is a rarity in Bollywood. And when the film pits an anonymous caller against Mumbai police, curiosity is aroused.